Better Off Red?
Twenty Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Recalling the Liberal Media's Blindness to the Evils of Communism


By Rich Noyes, MRC Research Director
Scott Whitlock, MRC News Analyst

Exactly 20 years ago, the world rejoiced as the suffocating grip of communism in Europe was finally broken. The pivotal year was 1989, as Soviet-installed dictatorships in Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and East Germany all retreated in the face of largely peaceful democratic revolutions; the Romanians also threw off their shackles that year, but in a spasm of violence that killed more than a thousand people. On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall, which had imprisoned the people of East Berlin for 28 years, was finally opened. Two years later, the Soviet Union itself fell apart, four months after an attempted coup against party boss Mikhail Gorbachev dissolved in the face of popular opposition.

The media fancy themselves as those who give voice to the voiceless, who stand as a check on those in power. But looking back at the media’s track record on communism, one sees a press that was too willing to act as a mouthpiece for the world’s worst dictatorships, and too accepting of the perverse claim that communism meant safety and security for its people. The evils of communism are well documented. According to The Black Book of Communism, even Hitler’s Holocaust pales in comparison to the human toll of the world’s communist dictators: 65 million killed by Mao, another 20 million killed by Stalin, and millions more who perished in Eastern Europe, North Korea, Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa.

What follows is the record of the media’s communism coverage, as compiled by the Media Research Center over the past 22 years. Before, during and after those momentous events two decades ago, the liberal media too often whitewashed the true nature of communism, or suggested capitalism was somehow worse. Even as European communism was gasping its last breaths, reporters touted its supposed success stories. After the Iron Curtain lifted, the media disparaged the uncertainty of life without the “guarantees” and “safety net” provided by the former communist masters. Journalists kept singing the praises of the remaining communist police state of Cuba, and a few even offered propaganda opportunities to the lunatic dictatorship in North Korea. And liberals continued to heap scorn and ridicule on American anti-communists, obviously unembarrassed by their own blindness to the reality of the 20th century.

Previous: Executive Summary
Next: Before the Fall: Seeing Communism as a “Success Story”

Like this report? Then sign up to receive free e-mail alerts from the MRC

Article Tools
  •             and more!
  • Print
  • Subscribe to Newsletter
  • RSS Center
  • Take Action!